For as long as it’s been around, Facebook users have craved a dislike button. The company has long said it would never arrive as the feature could cause too much (extra) animosity on the site. Now, however, Facebook is testing a downvote button among a subset of users. It's not a way of disliking posts, sadly, but is instead used to flag them.
Back when Facebook announced it was adding Reactions to the platform, it appeared that the ‘Angry’ emoji would be the closest we’d ever get to expressing our distaste at a post—though it wasn’t Facebook’s intention for it to be used as a dislike reaction. With the downvote button, users can signal if a post is “Offensive”, “Misleading”, and “Off Topic.”
Facebook said that the test is being carried on five percent of Android users in the US. The downvote button, which is separate from the Reactions menu, only appears on public Page posts, not on posts by Groups, public figures or users.
Facebook is testing downvoting comments pic.twitter.com/SBOSQITotO— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 8, 2018
As reported by The Daily Beast, Facebook has been quick to point out that this isn’t a dislike button. “We are not testing a dislike button. We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts,” a spokesperson wrote, “This is running for a small set of people in the U.S. only.”
Like Reactions, clicking the downvote button brings up a set of options such as the aforementioned "offensive," "misleading," and "off Topic." Selecting one does not affect the post’s ranking and the number of downvotes are not displayed; it’s currently only a way to let Facebook know about an inappropriate post by flagging it.
Downvoting is, of course, usually associated with Reddit. Company co-founder Alexi Ohanian offered his opinion on Facebook’s test via Twitter.
Sincerest form of flattery! Wish I'd trademarked it and “upvote” when came up with it. https://t.co/wJMxILChCV— Alexis Ohanian Sr. (@alexisohanian) February 8, 2018
As with all its experiments, there's no guarantee Facebook roll the button out to everyone. There is a chance that the feature could evolve so downvoted posts’ visibility gets reduced, but that would likely cause censorship accusations.